The Evolution of Photoshop: Display, Image Pro & Photoshop

On In
Updated on 21 May, 2014.

baby by anjana @anjanadesigns

We all love Photoshop, which is world's most popular digital imaging software published by Adobe Systems. Photoshop began life as a program called Display that was made to display grayscale images on a monochrome display.

Photoshop was developed in 1987, by two brothers, Thomas and John Knoll. In the fall of 1987, Thomas Knoll, a PhD candidate in computer vision (the processing of digital images) at the University of Michigan, discovered that his new Apple Macintosh Plus couldn't display Grayscale images (Grayscale is a range of monochromatic shades from black to white) on its black and white monitor. He wrote some command line utilities to translate monochrome images to Grayscale. This program was called Display. His brother John Knoll who was working at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), saw this program and he suggested his brother to turn it into a full image editing program to manipulate digital images.

In the end of 1987, when the Macintosh II came out, Thomas added support for displaying color images. They worked on expanding Display’s capability. Thomas added gama correction tools as well as the ability to read and write various file formats, while John developed filter plug-ins. Thomas developed features like Levels for adjusting tonality, Color Balance, Hue & Saturation for adjusting color and painting capabilities.

By 1988, they decided to sell it commercially. They considered to change the name of Display to Image Pro but that name was already taken for some other product. During a program demo, someone suggested the name PhotoShop and finally it became Photoshop. Thomas also wrote a simple manual to make the program more understandable. They gave program demos to number of companies, including a company named Adobe Systems. Seeing the Demo, Russell Brown, Adobe’s primary art director, was very much impressed by the program and they decided to buy the license to distribute Photoshop (Sep 1988). Finally, in February 1990, Photoshop 1.0 was shipped.

Version History:

1990- Photoshop 1.0:  Only for Mac OS

1991- Photoshop 2.0: Added paths, CMYK color, EPS Rasterization and the Pen Tool. Only for Mac OS.

1992- Photoshop 2.5: The first version to support Microsoft Windows. 16-bit file support and palettes were added.

1994- Photoshop 3.0: Layers and tabbed palettes were introduced.

1996- Photoshop 4.0: Adjustment Layers and Actions (Macros) were the two most notable features of Photoshop 4.0.

1998- Photoshop 5.0: Added Editable type (previously type was rasterized as soon as it was added), the ability to undo actions multiple times in the History palette, Color management and the Magnetic Lasso Tool.

1999- Photoshop 5.5: The first version of Photoshop to be bundled with ImageReady. It also made the addition of the the Save for Web feature and the extract filter.

2000- Photoshop 6.0: Vector shapes, Liquify filter and the Blending Options were added. A new feature was added to the Type Tool where you can directly type text even without defining a Text Box.

2002- Photoshop 7.0: Photoshop 7.0 made text fully vector and added the Healing Brush Tool and Patch Tool. A new file browser was introduced that allowed the users to easily look through folders.

2003- Photoshop CS: Layer groups were introduced.

2005- Photoshop CS2: The Smart Objects were introduced.

2007- Photoshop CS3 & CS3 Extended: Photoshop CS3 no longer included ImageReady. Improvements in Photoshop CS3 include revised user interface, the Quick Select tool, improvements to cloning and healing, Auto Align and Auto Blend and Smart Filters.

2008- Photoshop CS4 & CS4 Extended: Tabbed document display was introduced.

2010- Photoshop CS5 & CS5 Extended: The Content aware fill tool and The Puppet Warp tool were introduced. Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended offers advanced tools for 3D and enhanced HDR capabilities.

2012- Photoshop CS6: Updated UI with new dark interface. The new additions are vector layers, new Crop Tool, Content Aware Tool and Background Save and Auto-recovery options. Adobe Photoshop CS6 also offers video editing tools.

2013-Photoshop CC: It is part of Adobe Creative Cloud. The new features are Smart Sharpen, Perspective Warp, Linked Smart Objects and Behance integration.


  1. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

    Also visit my web-site; how to get youtube hits